World champion Costa and Lampre Merida team to plan season this week at Italian training camp
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Monday, December 02, 2013

World champion Costa and Lampre Merida team to plan season this week at Italian training camp

by VeloNation Press at 8:14 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
New opportunities for Portuguese rider with leadership role

Rui CostaWorld road race champion Rui Costa will meet up with his new Lampre Merida team-mates in three days time, beginning a four day training camp in Darfo Boario Terme in order to prepare for the season.

The Italian squad will be based in the Hotel San Martino and there the first part of the season will be planned out, with training and racing schedules to be plotted. The riders will have technical aspects such as bike fit fine tuned, and will get to try out new equipment.

Another goal is team bonding, with those who know each other getting reacquainted after their end of season break, while also being able to spend time with Costa and other newcomers.

Three riders will be missing; the first of those, Classic specialist Filippo Pozzato will be absent at the start but will reunite with the team on Saturday. He is undergoing surgery to treat the shoulder affected by a broken collarbone last year.

Two others, the Argentinean Maximiliano Richeze and the Chinese rider Xu Gang will not be present due to the long distance to the short camp. They will meet up with the team at a later point.

The get-together will see Brent Copeland get to know the riders; he came on board as team manager recently, moving across from MTN Qhubeka.

The 41 year old previously worked as a directeur sportif with the team, joining back in 1999 and working with riders such as world champions Oscar Camenzind, Igor Astarloa and Alessandro Ballan. He also acted as South African team manager in three world championships.

Copeland worked there until 2009, the moved across to motorbike racing, where he worked closely with the American Ben Spies between 2010 and 2012.

Wanting to return to cycling, he took up a management role with the African MTN Qhubeka squad, helping it put together the lineup which clocked up several big wins this year, including Gerald Ciolek’s Milan Sanremo. He left that role in April of this year.

“Lampre has always been my Italian family, they welcomed me fifteen years ago. There has always been a special bond with the blue-fuchsia colours,” he said at the end of October.

He, team trainer and race coordinator Michele Bartoli plus the directeur sportifs will work together to plan next season.

In addition to that former Giro d’Italia director Angelo Zomegnan will spend time with the team in his role as senior advisor, as will the main sponsors and suppliers.

The team will want to improve on what was a relatively quiet 2013 season; it placed fourteenth out of nineteen in the UCI WorldTour rankings, and clocked up sixteen wins.

The biggest was Pozzato’s victory in the WorldTour GP Ouest France event, as well as Adriano Malori’s stage and overall victory in Bayern Rundfarht, Deigo Ulissi’s successes in the Giro dell’Emilia and Milan Torino, plus Kristijan Durasek’s triumph in the Tre Valli Varesine.

The team missed out on a stage win in a Grand Tour, but will hope that Pozzato’s return to the top of the podium plus Costa’s move to the team will help to put that right in 2014.

The latter is a rider who could have a very successful season, including in the general classification of Grand Tours and shorter stage races. He took the world road race championships ahead of Joaquim Rodriguez and Alejandro Valverde in September, and also successfully defended his Tour de Suisse title and took two stages in the Tour de France.

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